Open Mic: Reflections on My Ben Franklin Milestone With B/R

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Open Mic: Reflections on My Ben Franklin Milestone With B/R

J.C. Ayvazi at Dodger Stadium May 6, 2009—the day the Dodgers won their record 13th consecutive home game to start the season.  Photo Credit:

This article marks the one hundredth submission I have made to Bleacher Report.

It has been 11 months since joining B/R. At first I was just trying to find a way to have my voice heard. Instead I found a wonderful community—an international community who share a love for writing and sport.

Finding my place here has been an electronic adventure. A spat or three have arisen, but the friendships that have been woven render the former meaningless, for I feel fortunate to have encountered so many wonderful and talented people.

Recently I have considered if I should celebrate the hundredth time of clicking the publishing button. Having seen a few others celebrating their own milestones, in personal and public fashion, I now feel compelled to submit the following letter of appreciation.

We all come to this particular way station with our set of preferences and dislikes. The level of appreciation and respect for others is what makes this place unlike so many other sporting sites. Granted things may not always go smoothly, but which large family has no issues while gathered around the dinner table?

The thing I am most surprised at is the many friendships I have struck with fans of teams that, well to be honest, I have spent a long time despising. If nothing else, Bleacher Report has opened my eyes to the fact good fans are pretty much the same, just wearing different jerseys.

Maybe I knew that before, but the Bleachers made it more obvious and palpable.

One must tip their hat to the gang of four who first conceived such a place; though I am sure what has followed has far outstripped their expectations. Particularly to Zander, the most public of the four, who’s help has been sent my way few times. I salute you, sir, on such a fine job riding this bucking bronco.

After walking through the door and setting up shop with my favorite baseball, football, and hockey teams, I began to meet some very generous and kind folks. In the Dodger community was Molly Gray, who sadly is not currently active due to the demands of school. She is the one who nominated me to replace her as the Dodger community leader.

It is a post I take very seriously, as new members who are loyal to the Big Dodger in the Sky along with those who venture by carrying brickbats have found.

I have also been most fortunate in turning this opportunity into the chance to have a level of access to the team I could only have dreamed of previously. The Dodgers have been very accommodating to bloggers, and I hope other teams and leagues will take their cue in opening the door to responsible members of our community.

One cannot venture in the college football sections for long without encountering Baby Tate. The cliché is how he has forgotten more about football than most will ever know, but don’t believe he has forgotten anything. I would wager good money he knows more about football than a clean room full of computers at Cape Canaveral knows about launching rockets.

Draped in Cardinal and Gold, fine Trojans such as Paul Peszko and rod wood stand out with their keen observations and staunch loyalty to the University of Southern California.

The passion of the Raider Nation (which is the only nation, sorry but the other “nations” are but dust swirls in the shadows) is well represented. Jeff Little, Al’s Wingman, and Raider Card Addict can always be counted on for solid reporting and quality conversation.

In fact, the Raider newsgroup on usenet is what first alerted me to the presence of Bleacher Report. Any ASFPOR types who wander across this will know of The Shadow, and his tireless searching for articles across the Internet expanse for reprinting there.

Hockey has been both, a feast and a famine. While the pickings can be slim in the Kings group, the Canadians section is brimming with talented and engaging folks. Miah D. was the first writer to reach out to and make me feel welcome. Through her I have met so many others who are so kind and gracious.

Leading the way on that score would have to be the woman who represents the conscience of the Bleachers, Saraswathi Sirigina. How could I anticipate when joining I would have met someone on the other side of the world who could make me think and feel so deeply on a range of topics? You are a treasure Sarah.

Gray Ghost and LJ Burgess must also be mentioned, as their skill in writing, though not as voluminous as I might hope, always resides in the top tier. Beyond that, their fellowship and encouragement is always most gratifying.

In my wanderings across the pond to check in with the EPL, I have found some interesting chaps and lasses who prefer their football hands-free. Willie Gannon and Barney are a couple of the brightest lights in a constellation of stars.

One must not forget the editors as well, for they make all of us electron manipulators look the best we can, a digital combination of personal trainers and make-up technicians.

High on my gratitude list are Tim Coughlin and Ryan Droege, who have time after time corrected my errors and have made valuable suggestions to improve my overall quality of work.

Having received so much from the community, I also have felt the need to pass some of it along. Iowa Chick, Evan Chavez , and Josh Dhani are a few of the people to whom I have made suggestions. Their work is quite worthy of your consideration.

A few others must also be mentioned. Some like Lisa Horne have moved on but can never be forgotten. Anyone who has known her writing continues to strive for her level of excellence.

Others are constantly active and always most welcome. Leroy Watson, Andrew Nuschler, Richard Marsh, Bob Wagna, and PJ Ross are baseball people with whom I would call upon, as so eloquently stated by my favorite poet and shaman Jim Morrison, to plan a murder or start a religion.

I could go on and on, after all my fan lists each top the century mark as well, built up by numerous exchanges in the comment threads.

I am proud to have a more than three to one ratio when it comes to comments made vs. articles written, since a community works better with interaction. Our writing also improves when we are challenged and made to consider our positions.

Before the end, I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge Patrick Mauro, who does such a fine job with his radio program, and has been kind enough to invite me on a few times to discuss Dodger baseball, among other items.

Granted there are many more I have not mentioned by name, but for every one else, please know your work and comments have been an inspiration. I am grateful to all whose path I have crossed in the Bleachers, and tip my Dodger Blue chapeau to you all in respect and appreciation.

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